Heavy patients

  1. Hi everyone,
    I am 15 years old and a sophmore in high school. I hope when I turn 16 to take CNA classes because I think that it would be really good experience for my eventual nursing career. But here is my problem : Everyone I talk to and everything I read talks about how hard it is to lift and/or turn the elderly in LTCs and how much they really wear you out. Now I am known to have a lot of energy and stamina but I am a small person and don't know if I will be able to handle the patients. Has anyone had any similar problems or does anyone have any suggestions for me ?? Please ~ I need lots of help and encouragement. Thanks in advance.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   iceprincess
    cna work is very exhausting..so your energy and stamina will help....as far as heavy pts. most facilities i work at have a hoyer lift...(to transfer from bed to chair...chair to bed etc....) and your fellow co-workers are there to assist you in pulling them up in bed ,turning them and what not.....i to am a petite person....i am no longer a cna... but when i was i never had problems with lifting...so dont let that discourage you.... good luck to you!!
  4. by   lizmatt
    When I worked as a CNA in a LTC facility I did very little lifting. Our facility had a no lift policy and we used mechanical lifts for everyone not weight bearing. BUT, there was still a lot of turning and situations where getting a lift was not possible. There were quite a few very small aides (myself not included in this category) that had no problems handling the residents. I think it mostly has to do with learning the best way to lift/ move people. Seek a job in a well-staffed facility that looks out for it's staff - Ok maybe not so easy to find... but they are out there.
  5. by   Ellen
    Protect your back! Learn the all important steps to protecting yourself during the lifting of patients, like always using your leg muscles. Use simple back exercises to keep your back strong and flexible. Back supports are no longer recommended because too many people thought they were to protect the back and they were only for support. And remember when helping someone else lift don't proceed with the lift if it is not right for you..the bed too high? Patient head needs to be lowered? Make it safe before you proceed.
  6. by   Mkue
    I agree with Ellen, protect your back and make it safe before you proceed.

    I've never worked as a CNA but have assisted with moving patients. You will learn alot as a CNA.

    Good Luck!
  7. by   moonshadeau
    Absolutely protect your back. If you trust the people that you work with to lift equally as you, you should be fine. And use all safety devices that your facility will provide for you. If you get injured and you do not use the safety device available, workman's comp may not cover you and you set the patient up to be injured. And always go with your gut instincts.

    An example, I was just starting my 12 hour shift and I had a patient become increasingly more agitated and hallucinating while sitting in the chair. I got in report that she ambulated just fine on day shift. Myself and the aide decided to get her into bed where she would be the safest. I decided to put a gait belt on her (we usually really lack in using them appropriately on the floor that I work.) Something told me that we should have one more person in there. Now I am 7 months pregnant and am still lifting when I can, but something was wrong. So I called another nurse in and the three of us lifted her out of the chair. Unfortunately she did not bear any weight on her own and we were stuck lifting 250lbs of dead weight. Since we had the gait belt we were able to lower her to the floor without injury to her. Unfortuanately for me something caught in my back on the way down. It took 6 people and her on a backboard to get her up and off the floor. I just thank my lucky stars that I was following protocal at the time, otherwise, my back injury would be just too bad for me.

    Anyway, I am rambling because I can't sleep. Good luck to you. CNA work is great. I always loved having 60 grandparents.
  8. by   Rapheal
    I'm small too. You will be trained in how to protect your back as the other posters have advised. As physical therapy for tips as well. Always get help when needed. I had a 450 pound patient who took five people to move her up in bed. Asked HER to help and then it took only 2. If a patient feels like they have some input they can be helpful. Some patients do not WANT to move for different reasons. When assisting these patients always get help when getting them out of bed. A 90 pound person is very heavy when they are dead weight.
  9. by   MICU RN
    Ask yourself do you really want to go to college to get a job that requires you to have to worry about theses kinds of issues? Are do you want to get a job where you can use your brains and not your back? Just food for thought!
  10. by   GAstudent
    I am also a small person (5'3 at 120lbs to be exact)and as said above we once had a 450lb woman and it took six of us to move her. She kicked and everything, but then another day there was just two of us and asked her to help and boy she did..Your co workers are there to help you and you will learn how to deal with the patients and get them to help you. Also in your CNA class you will learn how to handle patients and families and mechanics for mobility and how to use supports for your back and your safty for you and your patient. Good Luck in what you chose to do.
  11. by   yannadey
    Wanabebabynurse Protect your back, use good body mechanics also use whatever mechanical lifting device the facility has & last but not least ask your co-workers`for help.
    In the LTC where I worked when we had residents over 250lbs all of us on the unit(2nurses,4 aides) always go in to help with lifting & turning.
    No job is easy don't let others discourage you. I hope you become a CNA its a wonderful way to enter into the field & it will also help you to be a more understanding nurse.
    You're only 15. I don't know you personally but I'm proud of you being so young & have your head screwed on right.:kiss
    Last edit by yannadey on May 5, '03
  12. by   CVnurse08
    Thanks a lot for all your replies. They were very helpful. I really think that being a CNA would be good experience for me and would help me get over some of my fears. If only I will be able to handle the patients and not wear myself out before I even acheive my real goal of being an RN. I understand that I will have to work hard ~ I just don't want to hurt myself in doing things that are beyond my capability. DId anyone else start work as a CNA when they were 16 or around there ?? How uncommon is it ?? Thanks again for all your replies but I still really welcome more info !!
    Sarah
  13. by   ava'smomRN
    i am also part of the small crowd the very small crowd to be more throurough. i putoff becamoing a cna because i was intimidated by the lifting partbecause i thought there was no way a person my size would lift someone three times myside. but i put allthat asideand tookthe trainig anyway. ilove being a cna and the lifting part shouldnt be an issue.youwill have lifts and co-workers. in my facilty we arent allowed to lift anyone without assistance even if i was a big muscleman. what im trying to say is with proper trainig and a little help you will do fine and if your heart is in your work you will develop apassion for the feild and your residents. don'tlet anything hold you back
  14. by   gwenith
    Actually short people have fewer back problems than tall people. IIF you have to lift always try to get someone around your own height and beleive me it is easier to find a fellow "shorty" than a "cloud walker".

    Preferrably find an LTC that has a "No Lift" policy. This is the ONLY way to fly in nursing. Slide sheets/move tubes are marvellous and if used properly really protect you back.

    I am amazed at how few places seemed to have gone to this system. It took off here in Australia as if reduces workers compensation claims and therefor reduces workers compensation premiums! (Save MONEY! Thats an easy sell to management)/ Apart form saving money it also helps reduce staff turnover by preventing if not outright injuries then sick leave from pure pysical fatigue.

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